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Patients speak about prostate cancer and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy

John Underwood, Seattle, Washington

I was never particularly concerned about prostate cancer, even when my wife's high school boyfriend died of it, my brother-in-law was ‘seeded' for it, my hunting partner was ‘seeded' for it, and my old army buddy had a prostate biopsy Gleason Score 6. I had not had a prostate specific antigen, PSA, test since 2001, when the score was 2.1, but a new test in November of 2004 was 5.2, then 7.5, and finally 6.2, when a prostate biopsy was ordered. Biopsy was Gleason score 7. It was time to do something.

My wife began researching prostate cancer on the internet while I checked out the local clinics and treatment centers here in Seattle . We found lots of prostate cancer treatment alternatives: cryosurgery, prostate cancer radiation treatment, radiation seed therapy, traditional radical retropubic prostatectomy ... all very confusing. I wanted surgical removal and immediately scheduled an open radical prostate cancer surgery with my local urologist. As I learned more I also scheduled radiation seed therapy. I visited every urologist and clinic that held itself out as having expertise in the area of prostate cancer. My hunting partner had seeds implanted eight months prior and was still up urinating with extreme difficulty every hour at night: not a quick recovery. I was seeking a quick recovery as we were planning a mid-March departure for a six-month cruise from Fort Lauderdale , through the Virgins, and back to Seattle .

In the meantime my now research assistant wife located Dr. Krongrad. I was impressed with his CV, studied the technical section about what he proposed to do, reviewed the testimonials, and when he called I asked how many of these laparoscopic radical prostatectomy procedures he had done. "Well," he said, "I do one or two every day, five days a week, and have done so for the last several years." Good answer. Later I asked Ruth, one of the ladies in his office, the same question and got the same answer. Very reassuring. So I booked the LRP procedure for January 18, 2005 . I still wasn't worrying about prostate cancer.

Fly to Florida , next day meet the surgeon, then register at the hospital. Very efficient operation, bright and clean new hospital facilities. I have no recollection from the surgical ready room until the hospital room, but was told the procedure took 2.5 hours. I had no pain on awakening and have had no pain at any time later either. Virtually no surgical wounds, band aids only. The hospital wing is brand new and quite nice, for a hospital, service is OK. Dr. Krongrad came by to visit before and after the surgery and the next day to sign me out at noon . He described the procedure as ‘textbook'. I left the hospital, catheter burdened, and drove back to the boat where we were staying. A day or two later the biopsy results from the prostate came back clean, all cancer still within the margins, if pretty close to the edges.

We had an uneventful flight back to Seattle ten days after surgery, catheter still in place. Saw my local urologist on the 31 st of January and had the catheter removed, to my great relief.

It is now a little over six weeks since surgery and I am still dribbling and wearing a pad. Mostly sleep through the night, sometimes get up once, and mostly dry when inactive. I have spurts when I start moving and I pay careful attention to regular relief visits whether I feel the need or not. Do not know how long the dribbles will last, but I see some improvement every day. Surgeon says I'm doing fine and on course for full recovery. I'm going to meetings, out to dinner, attending plays and movies, all the regular stuff. I am not working out, however, as it is evident that the exertion will cause troublesome wetting. Swimming would work, but lifting weights might be embarrassing. The surgeon said not to do anything strenuous for six weeks and I have complied.

So, when diagnosed with cancer, and provided that you go for treatment as soon as the cancer is discovered and it finally turns out that the cancer is still contained within the gland, you have nothing to worry about. Dr Krongrad is experienced, efficient and knowledgeable and the LRP procedure is fast, painless, and can provide a complete cure, at least so far as I know. I'm glad I acted quickly and got a good result. Why anyone would have seeds or standard radical prostatectomy when you can have LRP, which is pretty much a nothing deal to the patient, is beyond me. If you want to chat, give me a call or email. Dr Krongrad has my contact information. Good luck!

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A Seattle man considers prostate cancer 

treatment alternatives including radiation seed therapy, cryosurgery, and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy.